So the hot hot hot weather has officially arrived here in Sonoma. This does not mean it still doesn't get chilly down in the 40's at night (good for the grapes) but the days and long evenings chill down slowly and dining out on the deck or patio or garden becomes a regular event. When it starts to heat up around here I tend to go for make-ahead stuff. I like things I can put together easily and quickly during the cool evenings before the hot days get rolling. Which is why this French lentil salad is a new favorite at our house. It's quick, easy, and can be made ahead. Toss in a green salad and a loaf of crusty bread and you're golden. This French lentil salad comes from David Lebowitz and while working on the Summer menu for CocoaPlanet Modern French Cafe we thought it would be a perfect fit. If you can, try and find LePuy French Lentils. Up close they look like beach stones.
I find they are superior, but any good French Lentil will work just as well.
French Lentil Salad
Here's What You Need:Salad:
1 and 1/2 cups French Green Lentils
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs of thyme
'1 carrot peeled and finely diced
1 small rerd onion peeled and finely diced
1 rib of celery washed and finely diced
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 and 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small shallot peeled and minced
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Here's What To Do:
Rinse the lentils, and put them in a pot with plenty of lightly salted water...
...the bay leaf, and the thyme.
Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes add the finely diced carrots, onion, and celery.
Simmer gently for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. DO NOT overcook them.
While the lentils are simmering make the dressing.
Finely chop the shallot.
Mix the vinegar...
Whisk everything together well and set aside.
When the lentils are tender, remove the bay leaf and thyme springs...
...and drain them.
Pour the warm lentils into a bowl, and mix the dressing into them while they are still warm.
Stir the dressing in so that the lentils are all coated.
Let it cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, toast and chop the walnuts.
When the lentils are cooled, mix in the chopped parsley and walnuts.
Stir everything together well.
When the salad is cooled, stir in the crumbled goat cheese.
The reason to wait until it's cooled is so the goat cheese does not melt when added to the salad.
Serve it up with green salad and a loaf of crusty bread.
This is a satisfying dish, great for hot Summer days and nights, and a perfect addition to any backyard buffet! Coming up next...Chocolate and a special give-away! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori